Helping You Build Wealth from Personal Experience
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Bob Lotich found himself at a financial breaking point in his early 20’s. He was overwhelmed by debt and stranded 1,000 miles from home with only $7 to his name. After crying out to God for wisdom, he discovered a simple biblically-inspired formula:
1. Save all you can – it isn’t just about filling up a savings account. Reduce expenses and save money on things you regularly purchase. Find hidden money in the most unexpected places.
2. Earn all you can – increase your earning potential.
3. Give all you can – grow in your generosity.
4. Enjoy it all – view saving, earning, and giving as a blessing.
Inspiration for this formula is guided by what the Bible says about money as well as English evangelist, John Wesley, from the 18th century who said: "I gain all I can (namely, by writing) without hurting either my soul or body. I save all I can, not willingly wasting anything, not a sheet of paper, not a cup of water…yet by giving all I can, I am effectually secured from “laying up treasures upon earth." Yea, and I am secured from either desiring or endeavoring it, as long as I give all I can." (Sermon LXXXVII: The Danger of Riches)
By applying this simple formula to his own life, Bob and his wife Linda were able to reach a level of financial freedom they never dreamed possible. “Our God is in the business of freeing people from bondage. I know that includes the bondage of sin, but I’m convinced it also includes financial bondage – especially debt,” shares Bob.
They paid off their debt and by the age of 30, they were able to pay off their house. Bob and Linda were also able to reach a personal goal of giving $1 million by age 40. Now he is helping others reach financial freedom. For the last 14 years he’s shared his best lessons with over 50 million readers and listeners on his award-winning website www.SeedTime.com, podcast - SeedTime Money, and financial courses.
A NEW APPROACH
Knowing how to earn, save, and manage money is essential to everyday life, but the lack of education about money often leads to a financial mess. You might be living paycheck to paycheck, unable to build a decent savings, and have piles of overdue bills wondering how to gain control of your life. The first step to turning things around is to start paying attention to what is going on with your finances.
In 2007, Bob learned he would be laid off within a couple of months. Their household income would be decreased by 60%. They prayed for God to meet their needs. They followed the 'Never 100 Rule' (choose not to spend 100% of your income each month) to the best of their ability and adjusted their spending to handle the income drop. They questioned every expense and tried to eliminate or reduce remaining expenses. By doing this exercise, it reduced stress.
Bob found out before the layoff exactly what they needed to survive on each month. In a worst-case scenario, he could always grab a job at the coffee shop to pay bills if needed. Today they are 100% debt free (including having paid off their mortgage). They use a debit card for most of their day to day expenses, but they also responsibly use a credit card each month as well. He believes credit cards are not evil, but a financial tool that must be used wisely. Some rules to follow regarding credit cards:
- Don’t use them for discretionary expenses – for example eating out, clothes, etc. They use the credit card for expenses such as the internet bill, utility bills, etc.
- Never carry a balance – if you can’t commit to paying off the balance each month - avoid using a credit card.
- Make your credit card work for you – find a great rewards card with a low interest rates, etc.
He also offers some ways to help you declutter your spending so you can find hidden money: (1) Hide or delete apps that you regularly buy from on mobile devices (2) Unsubscribe from mailing lists; (3) Delete your credit card information from Amazon so you have to enter it manually each time you buy; and (4) Unfollow brands or people on social media that lead to frivolous spending.
A NEW DIRECTION
As a young man, Bob started out working in a financial services headquarters. After a few years working for the firm, he felt pigeonholed in a position with little room for advancement. He longed for purpose and began writing a blog to share what he was learning about money. At that time most people did not know what a blog was so there was little money to be made from this venture, or so he thought.
When Bob was laid off in 2007 he felt God did not want him to look for another job. Instead, he felt God wanted him to work full time on his blog. His blog was barely earning enough to pay the electric bill, but he and Linda trusted God. In nine months, his blog started generating more income than his previous day job. Six months later the blog business was bringing in twice as much as his previous job. Linda and Bob were able to bless others with the additional income. He was so thankful God hadn’t answered his prayer to receive a promotion.
Bob says, “It’s critical to understand the reason behind “earn all you can.” We aren’t chasing money for money’s sake, but rather, we are earning all we can to maximize Kingdom impact.”
A GIVING MINDSET
There was a time when Bob, a new Christian, admits he had the wrong attitude about giving. He was in church and the pastor asked the congregation who was not tithing. The preacher continued to pressure and berate a few non-tithers until they came forward to repent at the altar. It was an experience that negatively shaped Bob’s view of giving for years.
The Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Bob’s perspective about giving changed one year when he needed to buy a birthday gift for his sister. He recalls being a newlywed living on $45 a week for food. His sister was in college living at home and needed a laptop for her schoolwork. Bob wanted to help her so he began going to garage sales looking for a computer. He found one for $75. The look on her face said it all. It remains one of Bob’s favorite memories of giving, and it was the first time in his life when giving was more fun than receiving.
“This moment had nothing to do with the cost of the gift, but rather a true desire to bless her, God providing “seed for the sower” and a need being met and an overwhelming grateful recipient. These elements converged in a moment that helped me tear down the false beliefs I had about giving and reimage what giving could be like,” shares Bob.
Bob and Linda faithfully continued to give to others and tithe (10%) for years. One morning during his quiet time with God, Bob felt Him speak to his heart about giving. If he wanted to see God move in their financial life, then God wanted them to begin giving their age as a percentage of our income. He was 31. After increasing their giving to 31%, they paid off their mortgage and became 100% debt free within 10 months.
They also wrote down their giving goals and started tracking their giving (spreadsheet) from donations to church, to birthday gifts, to supplies to host a baby shower, or meals for new parents. “We list everything as a way for us to stay focused on the most important thing: giving rather than accumulating.” By the age of 40, they had given away over $1 million. Bob shares, “Like the boy with the loaves and the fish, we didn’t have much to offer. He certainly had no way to feed a crowd of 5,000, just as we had no way to give away a million dollars. But when we place what we have in the hands of Jesus, anything is possible.”
ENJOY IT ALL
Bob and Linda chose to make sacrifices to reach their financial goals. For example, he drove a twelve-year-old Taurus rather than buying a new car. Meanwhile, he saved up for a Jeep. He didn’t stop giving, he didn’t take out a loan, but he gradually saw his money set aside for the Jeep accumulate. When he reached his goal, he bought the Jeep. “I was able to spend joyfully without a hint of guilt for this extravagance,” recalls Bob. It is important to enjoy giving and enjoy spending.
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